Judith Cofer and Brent Staples both express their experiences of being judged and stereotyped in the public sphere. Cofer’s essay, “The Myth of the Latin Woman: I Just Met a Girl Named Maria,” explains how she was typically stereotyped as an uneducated Latina. In Staples’ essay, “Just Walk on By: Black Men and Public Space,” elaborates on how he is seen as a threat in the community due to his race. Although both essays express similar material based on judgement, each essayist presents their write up differently. Cofer has an aggrieved tone and uses experiences where she responds actively to being mistreated to express how she feels, whereas Staples’ tone is much more passive and he utilizes his experiences of mistreatment with humbleness.
Where do we draw the lines between adoration and mockery, influence and appropriation, and individuality and stereotyping? Accordingly, the racial subject has always been a touchy topic to discuss, but with the lasting effects that the black minstrelsy has left in the society, we most definitely need to deal with the racial subject. Only this way can the American society move forward both as a nation and as a species, and through such efforts, only then can we ensure that such history can never repeat
In his essay entitled Black Men and Public Space (1987), Brent Staples talks about how people will have a common misconception on the black community by thinking that they are all mugger ,rapist or thugs. Staples supports his claim by telling the reader events/ stories that occured to him and talks about how people will assume that he is a danger to society when in reality he isnt. The authors purpose is to inform the reader that his experiences of being stereotyped is to show the reader his point of view when it comes to these types of situations. Staples writes in a formal tone for an intelligent or free minded person.
Ronald Takaki is a social historian and is a professor at the University of California, Berkley. He is a professor of ethic studies. In addition to being a professor, he is also a fellow of the Society of American Historians. In his book, Double Victory: A Multicultural of America in World War II, Takaki focuses on the minorities during World War II. Most histories of the Second World War, focus on the politics, battles, or generals and leaders, whereas this book is about the experience of the different minorities in America.
“Black Men and Public Spaces” Diagnostic Essay Brent Staples in “Black Men and Public Spaces,” illustrates the inescapable prejudices and stereotyping that African-American men face in America. He does this by relating to his audience through his personal experiences with stereotyping, and sharing his malcontent on how these events have made him alter his way of living. From “victimizing” woman, watching people lock themselves away, and having to whistle classical music to calm the nerves of people around him; Staples builds a picture to help people better sympathize and understand his frustration. Although Staples describes himself as a college graduate, a journalist, and a softy in the face of violence, he details that the overall public deems him a dangerous criminal.
One of the biggest things the human race has created is society. How humans live, how they interact, what customs they follow, all of it becomes a part of society. But many negatives have arisen from society as well such as: hate crimes, racism, discrimination, and much more have all taken root in society. The roots run so deep that most modern day citizens are not even aware of their own preferences. One of the worse roots being stereotypes.
Staples moves on to state that he never became comfortable with people who crossed to the other side of the street rather than pass him (183). By providing examples of people desperately trying to distance themselves from him when he didn’t exhibit any malicious intention in his actions, Staples shows that he was misinterpreted as dangerous solely because of his physical
Staples uses imagery, so the reader can picture it when reading his work, and to help create a sort of dark and lonely tone. The character uses several personal experiences which use a large amount of imagery. This is better shown when staples writes “ As a softy who is scarcely able to take a knife to a raw chicken- let alone hold it to a person’s throat……”(542), The character feels as though he is being judged for being a certain color when really he is afraid himself of getting hurt; he is also very humble and shy because he is afraid to even harm something that isn’t alive. When being treated as guilty and wrong, shame will follow; the character feels shameful that the lady is afraid of him when he has done nothing wrong.
That it is reality and not just a concept based off of racism. Within these anecdotes Staples uses hyperbole to create suspense and kind of overstate the real issue at hand in order to show how terrible his position truly is. Such as in the opening sentence, “My first victim was a woman - white, well dressed, probably in her early twenties…(542)”. The woman is not an actual “victim” to any physical harm. Nothing happened to her except she feared for possibly her life.
The women’s racism caused her reaction of “running in earnest,” “worried glances” and her eventual getaway, exemplifying the prejudice of a black male. He further demonstrates his “ability to alter public space” when just crossing “in front of a car stopped at a traffic light.” He hears the “thunk” of the driver locking their car regardless of them being “black, white, male, or female.” Staples understands the world is dangerous and people have the right to fear those around them, however, he continues to endure discrimination. But I am the person making those judgements.
By using such a unique story with eye-catching phrases as the introduction of his article, Staples evokes the emotion of fear and unsettledness that soon proceeds to a feeling of relief, yet in a way that 's melancholic.
Slavery is over therefore how can racism still exist? This has been a question posed countlessly in discussions about race. What has proven most difficult is adequately demonstrating how racism continues to thrive and how forms of oppression have manifested. Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow, argues that slavery has not vanished; it instead has taken new forms that allowed it to flourish in modern society. These forms include mass incarceration and perpetuation of racist policies and societal attitudes that are disguised as color-blindness that ultimately allow the system of oppression to continue.
Throughout his essay, Staples is able to make the audience understand what he has to deal with as a black man. Staples does this by using words and phrases such as, “...her flight made me feel like an accomplice in tyranny” and “... I was indistinguishable from the muggers who occasionally seeped into the area…” (542). By writing and describing how he (Staples) feels, the audience is able to get an inside look into how black men are treated and better understand why society’s teachings, play a vital role in how we see each other. Staples’ powerful writing also allows the reader to take a step back and see how as a society, people make judgements on others based on appearance alone.
I was surprised, embarrassed, and dismayed all at once,” he writes to admit that he’s harmless. Staples effectively persuades his readers to believe that not all black men are harmful. He wants to make more people comfortable around him and less of a negative stereotype. By acting the opposite of a thug that many [white] people make up the conclusion to be, Staples changes his behavior in a way to protect himself because he’s percieved as a thug that could potentially made him a target and a danger to those around him and to himself. Staples concludes in his essay that thugs wouldn’t be “whistling a bright, upbeat from Vivaldi’s Four
Black Men and Public Space Brent Staples has had several experiences that have made him come to a conclusion that the black male body inspires fear in public spaces. In my opinion he is right to feel that way. Unfortunately, it is something that comes naturally to some people. This is due to the media exposure with black males, the lack of diversity in their upbringing and demographics.